The late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio, the longtime Chicago Democratic member of Congress, in 1990.

The late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio, the longtime Chicago Democratic member of Congress, in 1990.

AP

Frank Annunzio, who represented Chicago in Congress, was linked to the mob, his FBI file shows

Newly obtained records say sources told the FBI that the Machine Democrat, who died in 2001, “frequently associated with” top La Cosa Nostra figures and “is possibly an LCN member himself.”

Not long before his death in 2001 at 86, former U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio “lent his name” to a campaign against “The Sopranos,” the acclaimed HBO series about a fictional mob family that some critics said presented an unfair portrait of Italian Americans.

According to Annunzio’s FBI file, recently obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, sources told agents over the years that the longtime congressman and Chicago Machine Democrat “frequently associated with” top La Cosa Nostra figures and “is possibly an LCN member himself.”

The records — released in response to a public records request and now part of the Sun-Times’ “The FBI Files” online database — also reveal there was a years-long federal investigation into a “proposed bribery scheme” described as having focused in part on Annunzio. That investigation was closed in the mid-1980s without any criminal charges, the files show.

As part of the investigation, the records show, FBI agents did surveillance on Annunzio — who retired from Congress in the early 1990s after representing parts of Chicago for nearly 30 years, from 1965 to 1993 — at his congressional offices in Washington, D.C.

An FBI record showing U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s Washington, D.C., offices were under surveillance in 1981.

An FBI record showing U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s Washington, D.C., offices were under surveillance in 1981.

FBI

The records show federal authorities discussed the legality of staging what appears to have been a sting operation there.

“The opinion of the Legal Counsel Division (LCD) has been requested as to whether there exists any legal prohibition to permitting [REDACTED] bribe to the congressman, either in his Congressional office or in the Capitol building itself,” says an FBI memo from 1981. “LCD has located neither law nor precedent precluding this activity in either location.”

A record in late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s FBI file shows federal authorities discussed the legality of staging what appears to have been a sting operation in congressional offices.

A record in late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s FBI file shows federal authorities discussed the legality of staging what appears to have been a sting operation in congressional offices.

FBI

The records also say agents wanted late 36th Ward Chicago Ald. Louis Farina to flip against Annunzio in the bribery investigation, which targeted both of them, but he wouldn’t do that.

“Farina basically took the whole blame in this matter upon himself and would not implicate Annunzio or anyone else,” according to an FBI memo from 1985, two years after Farina was convicted in a separate case in which he and Cook County Commissioner Martin Tuchow were found guilty of shaking down a developer.

The Annunzio case was dropped several months later, records show.

Many details about why Annunzio was targeted by agents and why the FBI considered him tight with the mob aren’t clear from the heavily redacted documents the agency released.

This FBI document links the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio to the mob.

This FBI document links the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio to the mob.

FBI

But one of the FBI documents quotes someone identified only as a “source” saying Annunzio “was a long-time friend of various LCN members, including Anthony Accardo.”

LCN, or La Cosa Nostra, is another term for the Mafia. Accardo led the Chicago mob for decades and died at 86 of natural causes in 1992.

Another FBI record says, “An in-depth study of Chicago files has revealed that various sources over the past 20 years have reported that Annunzio has frequently associated with top Chicago LCN figures and is possibly an LCN member himself.”

Another record in U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s FBI files.

Another record in U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio’s FBI files.

FBI

Asked by a reporter about the newly released FBI records, Walter Dudycz, a former Chicago cop and state senator who ran unsuccessfully against Annunzio in 1990, says, “Am I surprised that he was connected? Absolutely not.

“I have no regrets running against Frank Annunzio,” Dudycz says. “But he had a lot of muscle behind him — political and otherwise.”

Kevin Tynan, Annunzio’s former son-in-law and onetime campaign manager, dismisses what’s in the FBI records.

“There’s a lot of innuendo in the files,” Tynan says. Saying “he was in the Mafia sounds like they were painting all Italians with the same Mafia brush, a sad commentary on life in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I hope we got past that.

“Frank earned a master’s degree in education from DePaul University and taught in the Chicago Public Schools,” Tynan says. “I don’t think graduate education is typical for made men.”

Another reference in FBI files to alleged mob connections of the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio.

Another reference in FBI files to alleged mob connections of the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio.

FBI

Though the revelations regarding the FBI’s thinking are new, organized crime allegations against Annunzio had surfaced at times during his lengthy political career.

Author Ovid Demaris’ 1969 book “Captive City” cited a once-secret federal report linking the congressman to feared Chicago Outfit mob boss Sam Giancana and the notoriously mobbed-up 1st Ward Democratic political organization.

In 1990, Chicago magazine resurrected some of the same accusations in a story about Annunzio and his role in a massive savings and loan scandal that saw the collapse of numerous financial institutions and a bailout that cost taxpayers billions.

Of Annunzio and that time, Roll Call magazine wrote: “A dark period in Annunzio’s career came while he was chairman of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs subcommittee on financial institutions supervision, regulation and insurance. He chaired the panel during the savings-and-loan scandal, and he was criticized for his own ties to the industry.”

A photo of the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio contained in his FBI files.

A photo of the late U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio contained in his FBI files.

FBI

That included accepting campaign contributions from people from a savings and loan who stood to gain by his decisions in Congress and encouraging a bank board to hire a relative.

The FBI files show agents followed news accounts of Annunzio, including a Sun-Times report that he helped shepherd legislation benefiting the politically connected developers of Presidential Towers in the West Loop.

The FBI also tied another Chicago politician to the mob, the Sun-Times previously has reported. It once called the late 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti a “made” member of the mob, which came to light only after his death in 1999.

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